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Probably one of the most material and controversial changes for the UK and Irish paid search markets is almost upon us – the relaxation of the trademark protection Google currently affords to brands will cease on 5 May 2008.

As Ivan Izikowitz writes, some analysts and industry experts have taken the cynical view that this is merely a way for Google to stimulate volume and/or increased prices at a time when its revenue growth is slowing.

There is another perspective, however…

As everyone knows, a brand owner with good awareness and possibly consistent above-the-line advertising has been able to buy “brand traffic” in a non-competitive environment.

In practical terms, this traffic is substantially lower cost when compared to either generic or product related clicks, and often converts at a much higher rate too.

Brand owners – either directly or via their advertising agency – have consequently used the brand to run PPC campaigns which deliver solid performance.

From our perspective, however, comprehensive PPC coverage should incorporate generic, product as well as brand campaigns.

The apparent success of these brand campaigns often mask the fact that there are poor, or in some cases non-existent, generic and product campaigns.

Now this is where the levelling comes in…

With the trademark restrictions removed, it will be almost open season on brand bidding with the prices (and volumes) certain to rise.

The brands should still get their traffic at lower cost to competitors due to the relevance of their sites and landing pages etc, but will probably struggle to achieve their current performance.

The overall impact of this could be that brand owners could begin to look beyond the brand and focus on the real expertise required to deliver true multi-dimensional paid search campaigns.

There is much hype and speculation as to how the trademark change will impact the market, the operational aspects of setting up and running campaigns, the enforcement offered by Google (if any) and the prices competitors are willing to pay.

The true impact will only be known some time after the 5th May where today, the only certain winner is Google.

Ivan Izikowitz is the Managing Director of Clicks2Customers UK Limited .

Contributor

Published 29 April, 2008 by Contributor

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Comments (5)

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Runescape Powerleveling

pages etc, but will probably struggle to achieve their current performance.

over 8 years ago

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Karl Havard, Managing Director at whitekite

This is an interesting viewpoint from Ivan. But is he stating that brand marketing (which incorporates Paid Search within the marketing mix) requires less expertise than the more generic marketing?

I would disagree. It takes a whole lot of time, effort and expertise to build a brand and attain a position where awareness is high; ensuring brand personality is reflected both online and offline. Maintaining and enhancing this position requires a very similar level of time and expertise.

Google's move has opened the door to make it easy for anyone to make a play at trashing a brand, whilst at the same time potentially increasing their own revenues by providing a platform to allow this to happen.

Brands now need to be much more vigilant on their brand reputation and take measures to proactively enhance this...before it's too late.

It takes a long time to build a brand, but only a few seconds to tarnish it.

about 8 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Karl Havard, Managing Director at whitekite

This is an interesting viewpoint from Ivan. But is he stating that brand marketing (which incorporates Paid Search within the marketing mix) requires less expertise than the more generic marketing?

I would disagree. It takes a whole lot of time, effort and expertise to build a brand and attain a position where awareness is high; ensuring brand personality is reflected both online and offline. Maintaining and enhancing this position requires a very similar level of time and expertise.

Google's move has opened the door to make it easy for anyone to make a play at trashing a brand, whilst at the same time potentially increasing their own revenues by providing a platform to allow this to happen.

Brands now need to be much more vigilant on their brand reputation and take measures to proactively enhance this...before it's too late.

It takes a long time to build a brand, but only a few seconds to tarnish it.

about 8 years ago

Matthew Finch

Matthew Finch, Head of Sales & Commercial at Warner Leisure Hotels

I personal think this levels the playing fields for all to compete. I refer to a comment made by Joseph Jaffe in his book "Life After the 30-second spot" (which I thoroughly recommend you read).

Joseph talks about the birth of antibrands, such as eBay, Kelkoo, Amazon and Google. Antibrands remove barriers to information offering consumers access to data, information and knowledge.

For Google, removing the trademark restrictions offers a level playing field where FTSE 100 comapanies compete with 1-man-bedroom-businesses for a users click.

It may be tough for big brands, but it reflects the new world of marketing where the user is in control.

about 8 years ago

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Rik Hellewell

What are Google playing at !! As MD of a well known and respected brand in our industry and having spent much time, effort and money building a 'brand' with a Registered Trademark to boot, I feel that Google have totally lost the plot with their recent decision. The removal of the Trademark restrictions will lead to the 'one-man-and-his-dog' benefitting by being able to 'piggy-back' on the success of Trademarked brands.
Quite how Google can suggest that 'less confusion' will ensue leaves me completely baffled as a whole bunch of competing companies will be shown under the sponsored links with the end user having entered a specific term in the first instance. This will be more confusing for the searcher and the sponsored link adverts will be a lot less relevant !!
Personally I'm waiting for a Yahoo! sponsored link to appear when 'Google' is typed into a search box !! Then we'll see exactly what restritive practices Google can implement if it feels fit.
Google needs a severe and rapid re-think of this fundamentally flawed relaxation of a policy that has worked well up to May 2008. Trademark owners have a right for their marks and brands to be offered protection from the abuse that Google is encouraging.

about 8 years ago

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